Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Bringing the character to life #MFRW

You have the characters in your story, but how to bring them to life. Makes a writer feel good when someone says that the characters in your story are just like people they know. Having these kinds of characters in a story causes the reader to want to read more. So, how do you do it?

The first thing to consider is  the dominant trait of the character. Think of stereotypes. The tall, dark and handsome hero, the courageous young woman, the evil wizard. There are many types of characters and setting one in your mind is the start of breathing life into the character.

The second thing to consider is how does this character fit into the story. Just what role do you want this character to play in the action. You're the director of the story. I recently set a former cop with an attitude against a heroine who wanted family more than anything. They weren't exactly opposites since he also wanted a family. But he had a temper and she had a milder attitude.  So what you're doing is setting stereotype against stereotype.  But this isn't enough to make your character seem to be a living person.

Now you need to modify the stereotype and the character begins to take on a life. Maybe they react to a situation against what the stereotype would do. The hero who seems to be the type who takes what he wants decides to step back. The heroine who doesn't allow her temper to show explodes. Suddenly these characters become more alive.

In the story, you need variety. If all the characters have the same dominant traits the story would become boring. So think variety. Creating characters with the appearance of being alive is the writer's task. There is one more way and this is what gives layers to the character. I'll write a bit about that next week.

1 comment:

Melissa Keir said...

Wonderful post. I found it very helpful. I never thought about starting with the stereotype.